Top 12 Facts about Geneva
Few European tourist locales can match the charm and number of attractions of Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland. It’s no surprise it has won the World Travel Awards title of “the Best European City for Weekend Tours”, a title considered to be the Oscar of the tourism industry.
- The inhabitants of Geneva are very cheerful. The city hosts a festive event almost every single day. Even the beginning of a new season is cause for celebration here. For instance, at the beginning of winter, there’s a celebration of Napoleon’s defeat, and the famous L’Escalade, commemorating the city’s victory against Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy’s troops. In spring, everyone goes to see Geneva’s annual motor show. In summer, the city organises international regattas, the celebration of Geneva’s entrance into the Old Swiss Confederacy, and a world-famous music festival. Rose Festival is one of the major celebrations, lasting for as long as seven days.
- For a couple of centuries now, Geneva’s had a tradition to officially announce the coming of spring whenever the first leaf blooms out on the “official” chestnut tree, located outside the canton government’s windows. According to statistics, spring is usually announced in March, although there are exceptions. For instance, in 2002, the chestnut bloomed out on December 29th, and in 2007 as early as October.
- Geneva’s English Garden has the world’s largest Flower Clock. Its face is five metres in diameter, and consists of 6,500 live flowers that grow and bloom at different times, making the clock periodically change in colour.
- The Mayor’s Office of Geneva can be visited by anyone who’s interested. Even groups of tourists can cross the corridors, marvel at the interior and sneak a peek at the meeting rooms, provided they can do so quietly.
- Geneva is the birthplace of Internet as we know it today.
- It is home to the headquarters of the Raëlian Movement. Raëlians are people who believe in the existence of civilization on other planets, and that these civilizations can be contacted through spiritual means.
- The city’s botanical garden is more than a hundred years old. Here you’ll find the rarest species of flowers and other plants from around the world.
- The locals of Geneva consider the Mont Blanc Bridge, stretching over the River Rhône and Lake Geneva, to be of symbolic value. There are 27 flags of Switzerland’s regions, symbolising the country’s unity.
- No matter where you put yourself up – at a hotel, a guesthouse or a camp site – you’ll be given the Geneva Transport Card, which allows you to use public transportation for free, as well as visit most tourist objects at a discount.
- Ten per cent of Geneva’s population is employed by an international organisation.
- The University of Geneva is home to the famous Reformation Wall – a monument that honours the most famous icons of the Protestant Reformation.
- One of the oldest architectural structures in Geneva – the Tavel House – has been attracting curious travellers from around the world for over nine centuries. Today, it hosts a history museum with expositions that reflect the local people’s everyday lives from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.